Tibet - Table of Contents ............... Architecture Around the World

Potela Palace
Lhasa, Tibet

Pronounced poh TELL a

The Potala Palace was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala, India, during the 1959 Tibetan uprising.

Lozang Gyatso, the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, started the construction of the Potala Palace in 1645.  Altitude: 12,100 ft. The external structure was built in 3 years, while the interior, together with its furnishings, took 45 years to complete. There are thirteen stories of buildings containing over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and about 200,000 statues.

The Potala Palace is considered the most important example of Tibetan architecture. The Potala Palace was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994.  The palace was restored 1989-1994, costing $6.875 million. Today, the Potala Palace is a museum.

- Information culled from Wikipedia (online December 2013)
Tibetan construction activities can be traced back over 1300 years, when the first Buddhist temples were built in central Tibet.
Tibetan architecture features:
  • Symmetries in lay-out and façade design
  • Slightly trapezoidal form, heavy at the bottom (stone foundations) and light at the top, generally with battered walls
  • Flat roofs with parapets
  • Detailed code for the decoration of doors, windows and parapets
  • Painted black frames around doors and windows
  • Complex wooden overhang door and window decorations
  • Intricately carved interior timber frame following standardized design principles
  • Organic design – buildings appear to grow out of the landscape
-  Source: Tibet Heritgage Fund (online 12/13)
The Ascent























Tibetan architetual feature: Organic design – buildings appear to grow out of the landscape



Battered walls:  "Walls that are constructed of stone or rammed earth may be up to a meter thick at the base. In large structures such as temples and manor homes, walls slope inward to create an illusion of greater height. Windows are usually small because the walls are so heavy that large openings would make the structure weak and unstable. In the past, windows featured paper-covered wooden latticework, but nowadays almost universally use glass." - Wikipedia (online 12/13)


















A typical Tibetan architectuiral feature is painted black frames around windows ...
Another feature: Complex wooden overhang door and window decorations











Tibetan architetual feature: Organic design – buildings appear to grow out of the landscape



Photos and their arrangement İ 2013 Chuck LaChiusa
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